MN DPS awards Duluth Public Schools $70,000 for school bus cameras

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In the latest phase of the Stop Arm Camera Grant Project, the Duluth Public School District was awarded almost $70,000 by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to install stop arm cameras on the district’s 30 buses.

“We’re hoping that by having cameras on these stop signs that it might deter people from running through them,” said Adelle Wellens, a Communications Officer with Duluth Public Schools. “If they know that they could get a misdemeanor fine and $500 fine or even a gross misdemeanor if a students outside the bus.”

When school is in session buses make more than 10,000 trips each day, bringing students to and from school. According to the Department of Public Safety 4,652 Minnesota drivers were cited for school bus stop arm violations between 2017 and 2021.

“Being able to have those cameras so that the bus driver can just focus on the safety of the kids and not have to worry about getting that license plate number or that card description will be huge,” said Wellens. “Our transportation manager, he is over the moon. He’s really hopeful that the stop arm violations will decrease.”

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, most stop arm violations occur when drivers are distracted. They advise drivers to stay alert, and to be patient when sharing the road with a school bus.

DPS provides a list of tips for students and drivers on their website. Students are advised to wait to cross the road until they are signaled to do so by their bus driver. Motorists who are able are encouraged to alter their route or schedule to avoid school bus routes.

“As long as the bus is running, the camera’s recording,” said Wellens. “So even if the stop arm is up against the bus and is starting to swing out, it’s recording that entire time.”

The $70,000 in awards for Duluth Public Schools comes from $14.7 million which was approved by state legislators last year. When the program is concluded, stop arm cameras will be installed on 7,000 school buses across the state.